Delta, Gamma COVID-19 variants detected in Walla Walla County
July 8, 2021
WALLA WALLA—Throughout June, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has been using genome sequencing to identify COVID-19 variants around the state. Over the past week, Walla Walla County Department of Community Health (DCH) was notified that two variants had been identified in COVID specimens collected from the county. The two variants detected were variants P.1 (Gamma) and B.1.617.2 (Delta). They are the first known variant cases in the county.
First identified in India, the Delta variant has shown to be highly transmissible and easily spread from one individual to another. The Gamma variant was initially detected in Brazil and had 17 unique mutations. According to the DOH website, “There is evidence to suggest that some of the mutations may affect the ability of antibodies (natural and from the vaccine) to recognize and neutralize the virus, but additional studies are needed.”
While the state may now be open, it is still essential to take precautionary measures when necessary. Walla Walla County DCH continues to recommend that everyone eligible gets vaccinated. Although the Delta variant is more contagious, getting vaccinated will still protect against hospitalization and death. The vaccine is safe, effective, and free to everyone ages 12 years and older.
DCH encourages all residents to visit the County COVID website at http://www.covidwwc.com or text COVIDWW to 888777 for the most up-to-date county COVID information.